Three students received honors for their photography: Senior Mason R. received a Gold Key, Senior Drew L. received a Silver Key alongside five honorable mentions, and Junior Naaz V. received an Honorable Mention. In addition, Junior Ava A. won a Gold Key for her photography, another for a journalistic submission, and a Silver Key for a short story. Finally, three Seniors were awarded for their writing. Kai W. won two Silver Keys for two personal essays and memoirs as well as a Gold Key for a short story. Santiago Z. won two Silver Keys for a critical essay and a personal essay and memoir. Niamh O., who won a Gold Key for a short story, said of her win, "I wrote this short story in Ms. Wood's class, and she helped me immensely with working through it. I didn't expect to win anything. So, take a risk and submit your work to Scholastic!"
Blindly chosen by some of the foremost leaders in visual and literary arts, budding artists like Mason, Drew, Naaz and Ava are recognized for work that exemplifies excellence in originality, technical skill, and the emergence of technical voice and vision. Of her photograph titled, “Noa”, Mason stated, “This photograph was created with the intent of capturing youthfulness and the female gaze but upon meeting Noa, in which the film photograph is named after, I immediately knew this picture was going to be special.” Speaking of her acknowledgement, she continued, “I am very excited about this award and cannot wait to see what comes next.”
Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards uplifts and awards teen artists not just for their technical prowess, but also for their ability to distill emotion and feeling into their chosen artform. Of her preferred medium and her piece, “harry returns to his roots,” Naaz said, "I have been using photography as an outlet of my expression for some time now. I like to capture simple moments in my life that are not staged necessarily." Of her accolades, Kai W. said, “I am happy about all of these awards but my Silver Key for "One Step Closer to Closure"
is probably the most rewarding,” she began. “It was sort of a therapy piece about losing my godmother to COVID-19. I am glad that I could make her proud and I know she's smiling down at me from heaven."
All in all, the young creatives expressed gratitude not only for their hard work being rewarded, but to those who helped them hone their craft. “I would like to give a big shoutout to Ms. Iguh and Mr. Todd, as well as Andrea Simons from the Writing Center for helping me perfect all of my submissions,” said Ava A. “I am so honored to have my work recognized on a larger scale and couldn’t have done it without these amazing people.” Santiago also expressed gratitude for his his accolades saying, "I was thrilled when Ms. Iguh notified me about receiving awards. When I submitted my essays to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, I did not think much of it,” said Santiago. “Since it was a national award, I did not imagine myself getting an award. Therefore, I was super surprised to see myself receive accolades for this."
Echoing Ava and Santiago, Drew said, “I’m thankful not only to my family for encouraging me to follow my artistic passions, but also to the art department at Grace, particularly Mr. Todd, for helping me get to this point. I don’t think I’d have any awards if it weren’t for Mr. Todd’s help, along with the other art teachers at the school.” He continued, “It’s one thing to have the ability to create art, but it’s another thing to have people to support your pursuit of the arts, and that’s what Grace has done: supported my artistic side.”